Young Maori looking to pursue a career in the telecommunications industry now have more opportunities to get their feet in the door, with the help of a new scholarship from the Hei Rere Mai programme. The programme, which was launched by the Maori Spectrum Charitable Trust (Te Huarahi Tika Trust) and 2degrees last year, is now recieving scholarship applications from Maori students studying or planning to study ICT at the University of Auckland.
Each scholarship will pay up to $10,000 towards studying and living costs, with an annual commitment of $50,000 for the entire fund.
In addition the Trust will provide career advice and support for Maori students in high school, and 2degrees have committed to providing employment opportunties in the form of internships, initially in the customer services department.
The scholarship is a part of a larger scheme with the Accelerating Aotearoa charity, which includes succesful candidates giving talks at schools on the ICT industry.
Helen Roach, head of talent at 2degrees, says the mobile operator will benefit by increasing the number of skilled ICT workers potentially available to it.
“By providing young Maori with opportunities to learn more about our industry – either on the job or at university – we’re helping to create tomorrow’s telecommunications workers,” says Roach.
Roach says part of reason for sponsoring the scholarship is to meet expectations set by 2degrees shareholders, including the Hautaki Trust.
Roach would not comment on whether this would garner 2degrees favour from Iwi when looking to purchase spectrum in the future.
"I don't know anything about that, and it's not my job to comment on it. I just want to find the right talent, and keep our shareholders happy."
Daphne Luke, chair of the trust, says Maori have had few real opportunities in the telecommunications industry and hopes this will increase their participation.
“Hei Rere Mai is all about showing Maori what’s possible and how a career in telecommunications can lead to a diverse and rewarding career,” says Luke.
Luke says she hopes the financial assistance will encourage applications from areas outside of just Auckland.